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Yvo de Boer on carbon markets and REDD

On 6 April 2009 at a press briefing at the climate negotiations in Bonn, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, Yvo de Boer, was asked a question about carbon markets and REDD. In his response, he acknowledged two problems with incorporating REDD into the carbon markets: the science (measurement and permanence); and the impact on the carbon markets of trading forest carbon.

A transcript of de Boer’s response is below. The video can be accessed here – the question comes 37 minutes into the press briefing.

Alex Morales: Alex Morales, Bloomberg News. I just have a question on the carbon markets. I wanted to know how much progress has been made to including something like aviation into an international agreement.

And secondly on REDD, is REDD likely to be included in carbon markets as part of a Copenhagen agreement or is there a view that perhaps there are better mechanisms that can cope with deforestation?

Yvo de Boer: Well if I knew the answer to those questions I wouldn’t be sitting here, I’d be sitting under a palm tree somewhere.

Will aviation be included? Very hard to say. I mean first of all, as you know, in Kyoto in 1997 the International Civil Aviation Organisation was asked to come with a proposal for how to deal with aviation emissions. Not a lot of progress has been made there and there are people in the negotiations who would like to give ICAO more time and there are people that also, there are also people that would like to bring aviation related emissions under the convention. How that’s going to go is hard to say. Whatever happens, you know that aviation is already being brought under the European Emissions Trading Scheme. Internal flights in the United States are already, will be part of America’s national total under a future climate change regime: So significant parts of the aviation industry will be addressed in any event. But hard to say where that particular topic is going to go.

On reducing emissions from deforestation, I think that there is an enormous push out there to bring REDD, reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries, under a Copenhagen agreement. But there are at least two major issues of concern. The first is, how can you, it relates to the science, how can you accurately measure actually how much you’re avoiding and how can you safeguard avoided emissions? And secondly what will happen to the market, if you bring reducing emissions from deforestation under a market based approach? And of course there is a Kyoto experience that we can draw on, in the sense that you could cap, for example, reducing emissions from deforestation at a certain level under a market, in order to safeguard a price.

I would expect that there would continue to be action taken on that issue both inside the convention and outside. Organisations like the World Bank, UN-REDD, the UN Forum on Forests are trying to come to grips with this issue in any case, in the context of not for crediting arrangements, and I would expect that to continue.

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